Maggie Valley Alderman and motel owner Scott Pauley is leaving his post, pushed out by the region’s sagging economy.
Pauley tendered his resignation on Aug. 23, effective that day.
He is the second alderman to resign the town board this year, following Colin Edwards’ departure in February because of a disagreement over what he felt was subpar oversight of the town’s liquor stores.
Pauley, however, is bidding not only the board, but the town, farewell.
He, his wife and daughter are moving back to Virginia after a string of tough tourist seasons made it impossible for them to stay.
“We’ve been struggling for a while trying to do what we could to stay in the valley,” said Pauley.
But this was the worst year in three for the Lowe’s Motel, which the family has been running. They have lived in Maggie Valley for just over six years, and Pauley has been on the town board for two.
He said that he regrets having to leave the board and the town, and that his decision isn’t political, just financial.
He even intended to run for mayor before the scope of the economic situation became clear.
But when he realized a move was imminent, he stayed off the ballot.
The remaining members on the town board will vote on Pauley’s replacement.
Though two of the four aldermen seats and the mayoral spot are up for reelection this November, whoever is chosen to fill the vacant seat will get a free pass in November. Pauley was not up for election for another two years, and his replacement will serve out the remainder of that term.
It’s possible some of those on the ballot could put in a bid for the vacant seat hoping for a direct route to a seat on the board.
Town Manager Tim Barth said the process for replacing Pauley has already begun. The town is currently taking applications, with notices being posted in newspapers and going out on the town’s e-mail list.
Anyone interested in the seat has until Sept. 13 to apply, and although the timeline for appointing a new member isn’t set, it will likely be within the month. Each candidate must be interviewed by the whole board, and depending on how many hopefuls turn out, it could take a while.
When Alderwoman Danya Vanhook was appointed to Edwards’ vacated seat in March, there was some contention among board members about how to deal with filling the opening. The original deadline for applications was extended because some board members felt there wasn’t enough time for everyone to express interest.
That raised the ire of Alderman Phil Aldridge, often at odds with the rest of the board. Aldridge felt there were plenty of applicants, but the rest of the board just didn’t like the choices.
This time, however, Aldridge didn’t have a gripe against the process as yet, though he did say he was not sorry to see Pauley go. The two engaged in a heated public exchange earlier this year over the town’s ABC board and the performance of ABC Chairman Ralph Wallace.
Pauley’s wife, Dorene Pauley, is also vacating a public position as a planning board member.
Pauley said he’s proud of his time in Maggie Valley and hopes to return one day.
“I always wanted to retire here and I can’t ever rule it out, but you’ve got to do what you’ve got to do for your family,” said Pauley. “We just regret leaving. Maggie’s a beautiful place, has got great people and I’ve enjoyed serving.”